Emma Thompson plays Katherine, the brittle, uncompromising host of a long-running late-night show that’s running aground, at least in part because Katherine herself is out of touch: Her jokes are too frosty and erudite, and her taste in guests runs to serious types like historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, while her competitors are cleaning up by putting Kevin Hart on a Slip’n’Slide.
Perhaps it doesn’t help that her writers are all white dudes; she instructs her right-hand man (a gloriously persnickety Denis O’Hare) to hire a woman, fast. The beneficiary—or the victim, depending on how you see it—is Kaling’s effervescently optimistic Molly Patel, a lifelong stand-up comedy devotee who has miraculously made her way from toiling at a chemical plant in Pennsylvania to gaining a coveted spot in the writers’ room.
The men who have long had their butts planted there resent her; when she shows up on her first day, beaming and armed with cupcakes for everyone, their derision hangs in the air like invisible cigar smoke.
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